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NOVA: The Bible’s Buried Secrets

Airs Wednesday, April 13, 2011 at 9 p.m. on KPBS TV

Above: Ron Tappy examines the Tel Zayit abecedary. This alphabet suggests the existence of a literate royal court at the time of David and Solomon, the 10th century B.C., raising the possibility that scribes could have written portions of the Hebrew Bible at that time.

This two-hour special breaks exciting new ground in investigating the origins of the ancient Israelites, the evolution of their belief in one God and the creation of the Bible.

The Old City, Jerusalem
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Above: The Old City, Jerusalem

The Western Wall and Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem
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Above: The Western Wall and Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem

Sharon Zuckerman and Amnon Ben-Tor at Hazor excavations, Israel
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Above: Sharon Zuckerman and Amnon Ben-Tor at Hazor excavations, Israel

Radiocarbon Dating

In this interactive, learn how radiocarbon dating works, what it takes to determine a date in the lab, and why it's challenging to pinpoint a date precisely.

For the first time, more than a century of literary detective work and decades of archeological excavation in the Holy Land will challenge viewers with provocative new insights, including that most Israelites worshiped pagan gods and many believed that God had a wife, who was venerated as an idol.

NOVA travels to several excavations of ancient cities in the Near East, filming newly discovered remains and interviewing leading archeologists and biblical scholars.

These in-depth interviews—along with historic works of art, ancient artifacts, animations of biblical passages and scenes, and dramatic recreations—provide the latest account of the ancient Israelites and how they found their one God, the God not only of modern Judaism, but also of Christianity and Islam.

The film transports viewers into the world of the Old Testament through guided explorations of ancient ruins and advanced digital animation techniques, which bring sacred places, including the long-lost Temple of Solomon, to life.

As part of the project, NOVA commissioned a hand-crafted, illustrated Bible—a bound collection of artwork featuring images of ancient frescoes, illuminated medieval manuscripts, and paintings by European masters. These striking visuals evoke memorable scenes from biblical literature, such as God speaking to Moses from the burning bush and David as he slays the giant Philistine warrior, Goliath.

A story of science, history and faith, "The Bible's Buried Secrets" will leave a lasting impact on viewers and become the definitive documentary on the Bible for generations to come.

Video

The Bible's Buried Secrets: Recreating the Temple

Above: Gary Glassman, producer and director of NOVA's two-hour special, "The Bible's Buried Secrets," and associate producer Tristan Barako take you behind the scenes on a tour of Solomons Temple. To learn more, visit pbs.org/nova/bible

Video

The Bible's Buried Secrets: Did God Have a Wife?

Above: In this excerpt from NOVAs two-hour special, "The Bible's Buried Secrets," archeologist William Dever describes evidence that the ancient Israelite God, YHWH, had a female counterpart.

Video

The Bible's Buried Secrets: Animating the Bible

Above: Get a behind-the-scenes look at how filmmakers and visual-effects artists created a 3-D animation of the Hebrew Bible for NOVAs two-hour special, "The Bibles Buried Secrets."